Sunday, December 31, 2006

2007: The Twentieth Anniversary of Aardman's Visualization of a Nina Simone Hit

It's coming up on the twentieth anniversary for one of my favorite early Aardman shorts, "My Baby Just Cares for Me."

The track is Nina Simone in a performance of the Gus Kahn & Walter Donaldson standard. Nina's association with the tune marks its fiftieth anniversary this year; she included it on her first album in 1957. The Aardman short, however, uses an even sexier and sultrier version that became popular after Chanel No. 5 used it in a commercial in 1987. (That version is still charting: it's in the top-twenty best-selling jazz songs on iTunes.)

The film is directed by Peter Lord. Briefly available in the U.S. on VHS, it's long been out of circulation and has never made it to DVD (in Region 1, at least). So, thank you, YouTube.

Lord presents Baby as the most smitten and love-goofy animated animal since Chuck Jones's Pepe Le Pew. In what may be an homage to Jones, Lord has Baby hopping from table to table in a version of the four-footed "pronk" that Jones devised for Pepe's moments of highest joy and anticipation.

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Prince, Now More Than Ever

Russ Daggatt offers the following reasons for us to party like it's 1999:

On December 31, 1999:

Bill Clinton was President
Al Gore was Vice President
Bruce Babbitt was Secretary of the Interior
Wesley Clark was the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO
For the fiscal year just ended (9/30/99), the US government ran a $125 billion surplus; for the year just beginning (10/1/99), the gov’t would go on to run a $236 billion surplus
The federal debt was $3 trillion lower than it is now
The NASDAQ was up 84% (!) for the year just ended
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 24%
The S&P 500 was up 19%
The US was not at war in Iraq
No one had ever heard of Paris Hilton

Got any others?

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Who's Mickeleh?

I've been getting some new visitors based on a post and some comments I made about John Edwards announcement and Scoble's coverage thereof. Thanks for dropping by, and welcome.

If you came here with more interest in politics than technology, you might find Mickeleh's Soapbox more to your taste.

This is my tech marketing and personal blog. I cross-posted the John Edwards /Robert Scoble in both blogs because it was both a tech and a political story.

Shel Israel, noted the lack of profile information here, inspiring my one and only New Year's resolution: I resolve to work on my profile. If I get very ambitious, I may get around to telling the story of how James Bond got me my job at Apple, how Groucho got me on the radio, how Robin Williams got me a gig at Paramount writing sitcoms--unbeknownst to any of them. (especially James Bond who is a fictional charactere.)

But for now, here's a sketch:

I'm Michael Markman. Not the only Michael Markman, so I'm blogging as Mickeleh, which is a Yiddish-style diminutive for Michael (accent on the first syllable, as in Michelob or piccolo).

Went to Bronx Science--before Dave Winer, to Columbia--with Bill Campbell.

Ran Apple creative services and worldwide corporate advertising sometime during the Jobs interregnum. (best campaign: "What's on your Powerbook")

Spent the first bubble consulting (mostly for clients that ended the century in acquisitions, in chapter 11 or under indictment.) Many of those gigs were with Michael Witlin Associates.

Was creative director at Digeo for development of the Moxi U-I. (we won two Emmy awards so far. Nominated for a third.) Though I have left the company, I contract with them to post on behalf of Moxi under the name MoxiGuy.

I've had an ongoing sideline with Peter Hirshberg doing serio-comic presentations on tech marketing, social media, which we've given at TED, AlwaysOn, The WSJ D-Conference, and the Computer Science Museum. The Long Tail video, inspired by Chris Anderson's book, is one of the artifacts of that collaboration. (Thanks to Robert Scoble for persuading me to post it to YouTube. It's now approaching 400,000 views.)

But enough about me. Let's talk about you. Happiest of New Years to you all. More peace in the world, more love in our lives, and may we grasp all the liquidity events we seek.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Last to Know: New York Times Missed the Memo on Second Life Debunking

Caption in The New York Times this morning:
Millions of people inhabit "Second Life," a Web site that lets participants create a parallel existence made only of pixels — and their imagination
Headline on Valleywag two days ago:
Second Life—A debunking, in five acts
Apparently, the New York Times didn't get the memo and still features the suspect best-case numbers in Louise Story's story on the future of advertising.

Which is it—wave of the future, media naivete, or Second Wha?

Mickeleh's Take: The way I'd like to answer it is to poll all of the folks who have written glowing stories about Second Life and find out how many of them live there. For my part... if I wanted to spend time building an avatar, I'd do it on At least they'll send me the outfit to wear in First Life. (BTW, as of this writing, Second Life is down. But I'm used to that... a couple of week's ago my first life was down in the Seattle storm outage.)

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

John Edwards, The Demo

Edwards insight into high-tech marketing is much deeper than just reaching out to Scoble and popping up on YouTube and Rocketboom. Every candidate this cycle is will be wooing bloggers and throwing campaign videos up onto the net.

Here's the brilliant innovation of the Edwards campaign: he's conducting an open, public, empirical test of his own leadership abilities. He's giving us a demo. That's a high wire act. No net.

The operational definition of a leader is someone with followers. So here's Edwards saying, hey let's get busy and start getting things done now instead of waiting until the election. If people get busy, Edwards is a leader. Kennedy famously challenged the country to, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." But that was in the inaugural address, not the campaign.

Edwards isn't asking for the order on election day. He's asking for it today. And the ask isn't just, "send me money." It's take action on issues. If people respond, Edwards will have delivered an irrefutable demonstration of his leadership.

Unless, of course, the only actions he proposes are like the first one: "holding your own local 'Citizens' Launch' event."

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More: Memeorandum, Techmeme

Monday, December 25, 2006

Timeline: If All Humans Left Earth... How Long for the Planet to Recover?

I have no idea how good the science behind this is, but it's fascinating even if it's total bullshitake. If all humans suddenly vanished from earth, how long would it take for the planet to obliterate all traces that we were ever here?

Mickeleh's Take: No, the Rapture doesn't count... this timeline kicks in when we all go together. All us us, why not take all of us? BTW: this isn't a Web 2.0 view. There's no mention of when blogging stops or when Google servers shut down. I would expect spam to cease pretty darn quick, but that's doubtful.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Om Malik: Wii Frenzy Bubbles Up

Om Malik says his friends are begging for Wii and adds that over at GigaGamez, Jason McMaster reports Craig's listers are even willing to swap PS3 plus hard cash for a Wii.

Which opens the question: is this just a bit of Christmas frenzy for this year's Tickle Me Elmo...or is it yet another damaging blow against PS3?

Mickeleh's Take: PS3 is not fundamentally innovative. It's just a whizzier version of same ol', same ol' console game play combined with a bet on one of two Hi Def disk formats that most people aren't ready to place just yet.

Wii, on the other hand, introduces a new style of physical game play that promises what all thrill-seekers seek: thrills. PS3 offers more polygons and higher frame rate versus Wii's promise of actual risk of bodily injury and damage to furniture. In this case, the eyes don't have it. The wrists, shoulders, hips, and kneecaps out-vote them. It's Wii all the Waaa.

More on Techmeme.

Friday, December 22, 2006

He's Spartacus And He's 90 And He Has A Message For Gen Y

Missed this one first time around, but picked up a link to it on Jeremy Toeman's blog.

Kirk Douglas issued a 90th birthday message to Gen Y (and all of us): please fix the mess the world is in.
Generation Y, you are on the cusp. You are the group facing many problems: abject poverty, global warming, genocide, AIDS, and suicide bombers to name a few. These problems exist, and the world is silent. We have done very little to solve these problems. Now, we leave it to you. You have to fix it because the situation is intolerable.
Mickeleh's Take: And together we rise and answer in fervent solidarity, "I'm Spartacus." Oh, wait. That means we get crucified.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Viral Marketing: Bass-o-Matic meets Will it Float

This idea has been floating out there since Dan Aykroyd first whipped up a fish smoothie for Laraine Newman on SNL in 1976. Combine a dash of Letterman's "Will it Float" segment, and you have the perfect torture-test demo-challenge for a powerful blender.

Will it Blend? throws various objects (Hockey Pucks, iPod, Thanksgiving Dinner, Golf Balls, and more.) into the BlendTec Total Blender for the amusement of the Web audience.

Your Take: Think it will boost sales?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Top Forty Mag Covers Prove Print is More Visual Than the Web.

Six of the Top Forty Magazine Covers of the Past Forty Years

The American Society of Magazine Editors offer their picks for the top forty covers of the past forty years.

Mickeleh's Take: Funny how the Web, which is a medium of sight, sound, motion, and type relies almost completely on headlines to stop and grab an audience, where magazines can sell through the power of image and design. Look through the top forty and notice how many are image-only and image-mainly. Walking past a newstand, the image will pop more than type. (Current practice is to add a bunch of headlines to help close the sale after the browser has been stopped by the visual)

From the ASME selection here's the big exception:

By contrast, the Web and the blogosphere still rely on mainly type. It's headlines that sell, not images. Images are enhancements. Even after the 2006 explosion of the audio-visual web, podcasts and videos, we still graze headlines. The most powerful and lucrative ad format on the Web is a still the Google ad—a short headline, two lines of copy, and a URL. Sites that attempt to go pure visual and heavy Flash turn out to be tedious and ponderous. (When I see "loading..." I translate it instantly into "leaving...")

Is list-scanning inevitable in the Web world? Is anyone doing a visual browsing experience that you like?

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Feds Using Cell Phone Microphones To Eavesdrop

Good morning paranoia fans. Remember the old days when the feds had to work really hard to convince someone to agree to "wear a wire"? That was then. Nowadays we all cheerfully carry our own microphones with us everywhere. Every cell phone has one. Turns out that the feds can download software to many of them and then have the ability to turn on the microphone and listen in. In some phones they can even do this if you think the phone is off. The only sure way is to take the battery out--which only disables your own microphone. What about that guy over there? Does he still have his battery in the phone?

Mickeleh's Take: So far what we know is this: the FBI did this in a particular case involving the Genovese crime family. It was endorsed in a memorandum opinion by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan. But given the Bush doctrine of "warrant schmarrant," don't you expect that anything that can be done, will be done?

More on Techmeme

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sing A Song With Riddle CD: No Lyrics, No Lead Sheets

UPS dropped off the CD of Sing A Song With Riddle yesterday. Slight dissapointment that there are no lead sheets. The original vinyl LP had them. Ah well, lyrics are easy to find on the Web. You can paste them into iTunes (version 5 or later) and they'll even show up in the new iPods.

But one bonus of the CD is a very knowledgeable 8-page set of liner notes by Will Friedwald, with background Hey Diddle Riddle, swing arrangements of nursery rhymes recorded in October 1959, a month after Sing A Song but never released until now. Riddle had dipped into the genre in 1953 for the instrumental Brother John (Frere Jacque) and would again in 1960, for Sinatra's Ol' Macdonald. Both were hits.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Will UK Pull the Plug on AM & FM Radio? Should the US?

2006 has seen radical shifts in the production and distribution of content. Studios and networks are determined not to suffer the fate of the music industry. The network embrace of digital distribution kicked off in October 2005 with the ABC-iTunes deal and it has accelerated throughout this year. Today brings news of distribution deals between BitTorrent and 20th Century Fox, G4, Kadokawa, Lionsgate, MTV Networks, Palm Pictures, Paramount and Starz Media. All this by means of the wired internet. New rounds of investment ($25 million lead by Accel Partners)

So far most of the action has been on the wired Internet. But the digital media revolution is also going mobile which means that there's a whole new industry on the prowl for radio spectrum.

The communications regulators in the UK are thinking radically. To find new spectrum for new services, they just might let existing broadcast licenses expire. Red Herring reports that regulators in the UK are considering denying license renewals to today's AM and FM stations. Video killed the radio star, but mobile video may actually kill the whole industry.

Mickeleh's Take: Could it happen here? Should it? In the US, the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) is a powerful lobby, fiercely protective of spectrum. The whole march to HDTV began in 1986 when the FCC was considering reassigning unused spectrum reserved for TV channels. Broadcasters lobbied that they'd need the spectrum in the future for HDTV. (The political-corporate-technological battles to define our current HDTV standards are detailed in Joel Brinkleys Defining Vision: How Broadcasters Lured the Government into Inciting a Revolution in Television). Would the NAB fight for radio spectrum today? Could they prevail against the Telecoms? Or might they join foreces and swap AM & FM for new and more lucrative subscription and pay services?

The best of radio is long dead. Norman Corwin, FDR's fireside chats, The Mercury Theatre of the Air, Oxydol's Own Ma Perkins, Wolfman Jack, Dan Ingram, and KSAN are all making their way to distant galaxies in an expanding radio bubble. What's left is Jack and the whole sorry right-wing talk gang.

If you ran the FCC, would you be pondering what UK regulators are pondering?

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Presto! Will the Marketing Be As Smart as The Product?

Michael Arrington covers the launch today of Presto—the latest product for getting your technophobe friends and relatives onto email (and beyond).

Doesn't Granny over there look just thrilled to be getting some email. "Land sakes," she seems to say. "I do declare! Why look! It's paper with printing on it. Pictures, too."

The non-computer internet appliance had a vogue in the late twentieth century. The idea was to bring the Internet to folks who couldn't/wouldn't deal with the complexities of a computer. Most of them flopped. Those that didn't flop disappointed.

Internet Appliances of the Late Twentieth Century
Sony eVilla, 3Com Audrey (Palm), CIDCO iPhone,
WebTV (Now MSN TV), Compaq iPaq, CIDCO Mailstation

Selling technology to tech-averse consumers is always a tricky deal. They've already declared they don't want it. And they're not about to admit they can only use the dumbed-down version. Who wants to eat at the children's table?

But Presto just might make it. Unlike the failed internet appliances of the nineties, Presto outputs to paper not a screen. Paper is readable, portable, fileable, discardable. You can carry it with you into the smallest room of your house. And no batteries are required.

The pricing seems reasonable: $149 for the hardware (a special HP printer dubbed the Printing Mailbox) plus $9.99 / month for the service ( or $99 for a year). There's no limit to the amount of mail you can send, but you will be paying an HP consumables tax soon enough.

You might think of Presto as a smart fax machine. Smart because it can't be spammed. (Presto will only receive email from a "white list" of senders that you approve.) Smart because it can also subscribe to special reports. Smart because it can store email and then print when it's convenient for the user. And smart because the output is well-formatted and in color.

(Maybe not so smart. It can only receive. Is that a fatal flaw? Or a feature. Do you know anybody who wants to receive more email?)

The sender, sends to the Presto service. The Presto service sends to the Printing Mailbox.

Mickeleh's Take: If Presto marketing is as smart as the product, they won't waste their resources trying to reach the tech-averse. Their true market is tech-savvy folks who want to send email and baby photos to their tech-averse parents and grandparents. Presto's media plan should target the tech-savvy and enlist them in giving or persuading their tech-avers friends and family to get the gadget. Gotchas: if you're planning to get Presto for someone who hates technology, then you're probably going to take on the burden of maintaining the white list, monitoring the consumables etc. Also there's no way I found for a Presto user to respond to an email, except by picking up the phone and calling back. Are you ready for that?

One more good omen: simple, memorable product name and the URL to match. I wonder what that cost?

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More: Digg, Techmeme, Gizmodo, Jeneane Sessum

Mickeleh's Question: Do you know anybody you'd buy this for?

I Guess It's Time to Take in the Hammock

It snowed last night.

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National Lampoon Makes Kramer Funny Again

From National Lampoon, Seinfeld: The Lost Episode.

Mickeleh's Take: I got nothin'. Just watch it.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Remember Seinfeld on Letterman Last Week? Remember the Book he Plugged?

Ritch Shydner and Mark Schiff, got some good news and some bad news last week.

The good news: Jerry Seinfeld plugged their book, I Killed, on the highest-rated Letterman in years. The bad news: That was the night a shell-shocked Michael Richards made his first broadcast apology for The Tirade. So, who even noticed a simple book plug? Well, me, for one. And I ordered the book.

How often does a talk show guest have more than a single item to plug? Here Seinfeld came with three agenda items for his segment. Three is unheard of. I guess he was originally planning two. But The Tirade made three.

So Jerry used some of his time to help Michael Richards take the single step that begins a thousand-mile journey of redemption. And then to the main item, plugging the release of Season Seven on DVD (the sales of which might depend on how well he did with the first item). And then, for pure bonus points, he plugged I Killed: True Stories of the Road from America's Top Comics. He might have bumped the book to make room for Richards. But he kept it in the segment.

And I'm glad he did because it's a funny book. The subtitle says it all. Top comics tell stories from the road (usually from early in their careers, frequently involving humiliation and pain, sometimes involving uncomfortable cruelty and icy cold ambition). The book is perfect for a short attention-span world. The chapters are brief. They're in no discernable order. Dip in as you will. It's kind of like blog entries, but with more laughs. And no search engine. I wish it had an index.

It's definitely a you'll laugh, you'll cry thing. And you'll get a fine education about show business, ambition, ego, drugs, booze, sex, and America.

I knew Mark Schiff from back in the days when I was dabbling in standup in New York and L.A. He's an intensely funny guy.

As Larry David says in his jacket blurb: "Schiff and Shydner have done it. They've not only written a great book, but have managed to accomplish it without actually doing any writing."

Mickeleh's Take: As for me, here's my standup story: My dad came to see my act one night. He told me, "Next time you get onstage and try to make strangers laugh, remember how you're making your parents cry."

When I went to work for Apple, he got more nachas. And, frankly, I got much better stories.

(What's nachas? It's the inverse of schadenfreude.)

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Chris Pirillo: Holiday Dinner in a Bottle of Pop

Make that five bottles of pop.

Here's an actual product that reads like a Bob and Ray routine: Jones Soda 2006 edition of their famed Holiday Pack of eccentric soda flavors: Turkey and Gravy soda, Sweet Potato Soda, Dinner Roll Soda, Pea Soda, Antacid Flavored Soda. But instead of the fictional Wally Balloo reporting, we get the actual Chris Pirillo who offers a video tasting session all five flavors

According to Jones Soda, "All sodas are completely vegetarian, certified kosher, and contain zero caffeine, calories, and carbs." What's not to like? If you really want to know that, watch the video.

Mickeleh's Take: Let me know when they come out with a Potato Latkes Soda.

Proto-Karaoke: Sing A Song With Riddle

Album Cover, Sing a Song with RiddleNelson arranges. You sing.

Long before karaoke (well, long before I heard of it, anyway), Capitol issued an album of Nelson Riddle backing tracks, "Sing a Song with Riddle."

The year was 1959. Riddle was at the height of his powers. For perspective, that's the year he backed Ella on the incomparable five-LP Gershwin Songbook. It falls right between the Sinatra masterpieces, "Only the Lonely" and "Sinatra Swingin' Session." If you ever wanted to brush up your Sinatra impression (or for you youngsters, your Michael Bublé), here's the real deal. Long, long out of print on LP. Finally released on CD (July 2006).

You won't find it on iTunes, but Amazon sells it. Packaged with a never-before-released collection of Riddle charts for nursery rhymes.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Scoble nails the difference between Valleywag and Techcrunch

Robert Scoble does some neat positioning work to help us all sort out the unique roles filled by Valleywag and Techcrunch.

Mickeleh's Take
: Taken together, they amount to a Cheers and Jeers column, with the cheers concentrated at Techcrunch and the Jeers at Valleywag. Am I close?

Google CEO Schmidt Calls 2007 A Watershed for Office Apps

As if to celebrate the first time Google shares closed higher than $500, Techmeme features a set of predictions in the Economist from Google CEO, Dr. Eric Schmidt. No bubble here. In fact, Schmidt paints a very rosy 2007 Internet-based businesses.

That, in itself, is predictable. What's unexpected in Schmidt's piece is that he seems to take the gloves off in challenging Microsoft. Nick Carr notes the shift from Google's previously coy claims to offer only lite versions office apps to Schmidt's new emphatic stance that Internet apps, "will sweep aside the proprietary protocols promoted by individual companies striving for technical monopoly." (hmmm. Who might that be?) Schmidt claims: Today’s desktop software will be overtaken by internet-based services.

Schmidt's fig leaf here, is that he is not predicting that Google overtake Microsoft. He's just saying that inevitably Internet apps will overtake those from companies striving for technical monopoly (wink wink, nudge nudge).

(Reuters reports Microsoft's response to Schmidt)

The march of the Internet as a video carrier vs. cable was a huge story in 2006. In Schmidt's view IP (Internet protocol) has already "beaten ATM, CATV/Co-ax and the rest because it always means more choice." (Well, maybe, but most of us get our IP over cable in the first place. If Schmidt is correct, the dominance of cable as a programming brand is over. From here on, it's just a dumb pipe.)

Mickeleh's Take: In 2007 Microsoft may well accelerate the switch to Internet-based alternatives to Office. They'll be spending a lot of promotional and advertising dollars to sprinkle itching powder all over the installed base of Office. Microsoft, of course, imagines that the only way to scratch that itch is to fork over the cash to buy Office 2007. But once Microsoft's advertising gets a lot of us wondering whether the Office we have today is, maybe, not modern enough, not collaborative enough, not net-aware enough we may look to net-based providers for solutions that are totally modern, collaborative, and net aware.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Where was Richards' Heckler Contingency Plan?

Michael Richards racist outburst was not only vile and disgusting, but it was also puzzling.

Hecklers are an occupational hazard in standup comedy and experienced standups arm themselves with some kind of contingency plan for dealing before stepping onstage. The strategy for dealing with heckling will vary with the persona and temperament of the comic, the tone of the audience, and the nature of the heckler. It's bizarrely unprofessional for someone who has been at this as long as Richards to be so vulnerable to hecklers.

Put your comedy seat-belt on or stay off the stage.

Thing is, Richards (unless he's been prodigiously reckless about handling his money) has the best possible defence against heckling: He didn't need to be there. Did he?

Some meta questions: Is Michael Richards actually a nobody whose name recognition is so low that headline writers have to refer to him as Seinfeld's Kramer? Look how many headlines refer to Seinfeld's Kramer. Did this incident tarnish the Seinfeld rerun and DVD brand? Are we going to be able to watch that program any more without echoes of the n-word ringing through our ears?

By cosmic coincidence, Seinfeld is booked on Letterman tonight--and Richards appears by satellite to apologize. (Secret of Comedy is, indeed, timing.) The taping happened earlier. TMZ has video of Seinfeld esacping to his Limo.

Mickeleh's Take: Last week: groundbreaking for the Martin Luther King monument. By the weekend: More evidence that MLK's dream is still far from our reality. But now we're living in macaca time. Cameras are everywhere and uploading is easy.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Casino Royale: Q replaced by S (for Sony)

The new Bond picture, Casino Royale is logo pounder with cheese. Desmond Llewelyn's Q being unavailable (and John Cleese's R being too camp for the new tone), the producers move right on to S for Sony to load up 007 with tech toys. The source of product placement is not suprising, given that a division of Sony is distributing the movie.

Mickeleh's Take: I didn't see any must-haves from Sony. Best new toy is an unbranded road-side assistance program that comes with Bond's new car. It leaves On-Star in the dust.

Nothing new about product placement in the Bond series. Bond on screen has been a product pimp for a long time now. On the page, the Fleming novels were generously sprinkled with brand mentions, although Fleming, so far as I know, did it for effect, not for promotional consideration.

While the movie's tech toys disappoint, it stars the best Bond in decades. Daniel Craig projects enough ruthless steel and ice to persuade that he's earned the double-0 rank. Bond hasn't been this cold since Dr. No. Craig is also the fittest Bond we've seen since young Connery, which helps him sell both the stunts and the sex.

As for story, scraping away the barnacles of invisible cars, space-based disintegrator rays, and third-rate wise-cracks has re-energized the franchise. The core plot is right out of Fleming, accessorized with a Jackie-Chan inspired chase and enough exploding and collapsing to give the sub-woofers a proper workout.

Mickeleh's Tip: Go to Netflix and rent the 1967 travesty of Casino Royale but don't watch it. Go straight to the "extras" to see Bond's media debut in a live 1954 telecast with Peter Lorre as Le Chiffre.

(Well, if you have time to kill, the '67 version has Orson Welles as Le Chiffre along with Woody Allen, David Niven, and Peter Sellers. According to imdb, uncredited writers include Woody Allen, Ben Hecht, Joseph Heller, Terry Southern, and Billy Wilder. Should be funnier.)

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

TimesSelect Free Sample: Who Sampled Whom?

A week ago, Phillips sponsored a TimesSelect open house. The locked-away pay NYT columnists were accessible to all.

Mickeleh's Take: Was this a chance for the public to sample the tasty goodness of premium product? Or for the New York Times to sample the advertising impact of a bigger audience? I guess the Times was betting on the former and hoping for more of us to send them the fifty bucks. But cheapskate me is hoping for the latter.

From the Department of Irony: On November 4, the print edition of The Times carried a "What's Online" column by Dan Mitchell, discussing the overall state of the newspaper industry: 2.8 percent drop in daily circulation for the past six months. On the upside, he cited a study from the Newspaper Association of America reporting an 8 percent jump in online readership (Feb 2005 - Mar 2006). Quoth Dan, "But the study does not mention that newspapers still haven't figured out how to make a healthy profit from Internet readership.... many sites force readers to register, which Internet types say is counterproductive, when those readrs can so easily go elsewhere for their news." He left unsaid that some newspapers (his own for instance) charge subscription fees for some content. If you've paid your fees, you can read "What's Online" online. If not you can read an abstract here.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Om: Best Zune Review Yet is No Zune Review

Om Malik says he's seen so many luke warm to negative to horror-story reviews of Zune in his RSS reader, that he can't quite bring himself to open the box and review it himself.

Mickeleh's Take
: If you have any advice for Om, click through to his site and post a comment.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Microsoft to Rocketboom's Baron: An Offer He CAN Refuse

Andrew Baron says no thanks to Microsoft's quid pro quo for cross-promoting Rocketboom and Zune. Not only does Baron declare himself happy with Apple, but according to Dave Winer, one of the strings attached to the offer would have prevented Rocketboom from ever disparaging Microsoft.

Mickeleh's Take: It's good to know that not everything is for sale. (We're living in a post-11/7 world now.) Besides, if the Web were somehow purged of all disparagement of Microsoft, the sudden glut of server space and bandwidth would be overwhelming and might capsize the entire internet infrastructure business.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Zune Gets a Hefty Dose of Pogue Snark

David Pogue reviews Zune in the New York Times. He gives Zune good marks for a practical finish that won't smudge up as easily as iPod, a bigger screen, nifty U-I, and that sharing thing. But most of the review is a snark-filled introduction about how Microsoft abandoned its Plays-fer-sure customers and business partners and a conclusion that provides a long list of reasons why iPod still has a huge lead as both a product and an ecosystem.

Oh, yes... he also mentions something that Cory Doctorow pointed out back in September: Zune will wrap a self-destruct DRM around everything you send--even music from your own band that you want to share with friends.

And then there's what Pogue calls the "first-telephone" fallacy of the music-sharing feature:
Microsoft also faces what’s known as the Dilemma of the First Guy With a Telephone: Who you gonna call? The Zune will have to rack up some truly amazing sales before it’s easy to find sharing partners.
Mickeleh's Take: Zune will appeal to compulsive early adopters and Apple haters. Microsoft's huge ad buy, wide distribution, and strong merchandising will ensure that it is sampled. The ads feature the target customer enjoying the product (you know, like beer ads and pop ads).

But, it's still a 1.0 Microsoft product. So, I'll have to agree with Pogue on this: "For now, though, this game is for watching, not playing. It may be quite a while before brown is the new white."

Update: (1:08 PM) Walt Mossberg says pretty much the same thing (minus the snark); Several Zune features outpace iPod. But overall, iPod and iTunes is the better bet and richer experience for consumers.

Ed Baig and Jefferson Graham of USA Today, discuss and demo Zune and a couple of music phones on their video podcast (vlog to you hepsters). Same conclusion. Nothing touches iPod. Baig is especially skeptical of the Zune sharing feature..

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Looks like the PC outlasts the Mac

According to Radar Online says that Justin Long (who has played Mac) is out, but John Hodgman (who plays PC) is going on to the next round. While most of my friends like the campaign, there has been a lot of grumbling that Long merely confirms the harshest image of Mac held by its critics. And there's this Hodgman has got a way brainier resume (NY Times Magazine, Daily Show, This American Life, The Areas of my Expertise) than Long.

Mickeleh's Take: You kind of knew it was game over when they dressed Justin up in a suit. Still, it doesn't send a good message to admit that maybe a PC lasts longer than a Mac.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

DVR users: Tonight only: New Names for Daily Show and Colbert Report


Any DVR users reading this. If you have set a TiVo Season Pass or Moxi Series to record the Daily Show and Colbert Report... you may not get tonight's episodes. Because strictly speaking, they are not on the schedule for tonight.

Instead, the two shows are combining for a Midterm Midtacular. If you want to see it, you'll have to ask for it by name. You'll need to go in and set a one-time recording event for Midterm Midtacular.

Most of the time, DVR software that knows to record a show by title rather than schedule is a big help. But when the network changes the title of the show, the DVR won't get it.

Mickeleh's Take: Set your DVR to record Midterm Midtacular.

Today's Hottest Portable PC Fetish Object

Engadget has some pictures of a new ultra portable computer from Samsung.

How do you solve the problem of giving people a big keyboard in a tiny computer? Looks like they've done it. The screen pivots, and the split keyboard folds up around it like a clamshell.

How do you solve problems of heat dissipation and battery life? According to Engadget, they're working on it. Due first half 2007. EV-DO connectivity (not WiFi).

Mickeleh's Take: How do you put a big screen into a tiny computer? You don't. But if you train people up on mobile phones, this screen will look huge.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

DVR is Key to Campaign Ad Survival

I'm sure that if I didn't have a DVR with a skip button, I'm not sure I could have survived the last month. Most of the accelerating barrage of witless political ads w. In the middle of last week, I saw a TV ad for Comcast soliciting campaign and issue ads. My first thought was, they're running this pretty late in the season aren't they? Surely all the buys have been made. Silly me. Much news today about intrusive robo-calls. If you're a TV watcher, the political commercials are as intrusive. I'm glad that DVR technology provides the means to hang up on them.

Lincoln's T-mails and our email

Steve Rubel says that Abe Lincoln's use of the telegraph sets a good example for bloggers. Turns out Lincoln was the first president to make wide use of the telegraph and, therefore, the first who was forced to master the demands of electronic communication. The story is told in Tom Wheeler's book, Mr. Lincoln's T-mails: the Untold Story of How Abe Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War.

To paraphrase Rummy, "we go to war with the technology we have."

Wheeler's website includes a page of advice for writing better e-mails based on Lincoln's practices:

Face-to-face is better than electronic. (Julie Riegel, a colleague at Apple would say, never put bad news in an email. Use email only for praise. If you have criticism, walk down the hall or pick up the phone.) Lincoln's hierarchy was 1) face-to-face, 2) carefully composed letter, 3) telegraph.

Words are important
. Yeah, yeah. This advice applies to all writing, but Wheeler offers a great example in a telegraph message from Lincoln to Grant:
"Hold on with a bull-dog grip, and chew and choke."
Less is more: Need I say more? I mean, need I say less?

Lincoln would visit the telegraph office at the War Department to scan all the traffic--whether or not it was addressed to him. Hmm. A regular one-man NSA.

Lincoln may also have originated the sarcastic flamer. When Gen. McClellan wired to explain that he was not advancing because the army horses were fatigued and "sore-tongued," Lincoln wired:
"Will you pardon me for asking what the horse of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigues anything?"
Mickeleh's Take: I'll spend some time with Lincoln's T-mails. Maybe this blog will get better. Maybe I'll start reading other people's mails.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Moxi Nominated for Third Emmy

Scoble mentioned that was nominated for an Advanced Media Emmy. Congrats to them.

That sent me scurrying (well, clicking) to check the Emmy press release. I'm happy to see that Moxi is nominated a third time, having won in the two previous years. The awards will be announced at CES.

But the big news here is not who got nominations: it's what categories are now up for an Emmy. The television Academy recognizes how radically video production, distribution, and ad models are changing.

Apple, Real, Microsoft, and Adobe will share an award for Streaming Media Architectures and Components.

New categories honor advances in new ad insertion techniques, interactive experiences, and new U-I concepts for game boxes (Sony's Xross Media Bar), mobile phones (GoTV, and Motorola's Screen3.

One of the prime movers in getting the Academy to develop new award categories for tecnology is Shelly Palmer who chairs the Advanced Media Committee of the Academy. He's one of the few players grounded both the old media view of TV (and its ad models) and the new media view (still seeking a sound ad model). His latest post takes a 50,000 foot view of what it will take to put net video advertising on a sound footing.

Mickeleh's Take: Congrats to all the nominees. One of the last projects I did before leaving Digeo was working on the demo for the third Emmy application. One of the best projects was working as creative director with an amazing team of designers, developers, consultants, and usability engineers to develop the Moxi U-I.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Finally, A sub-woofer that actually goes to 11

Mickeleh's Take: It's not the first tribute to Nigel's special amps that go to 11. Only the latest (from Martin Logan, reported by Brian Lam in Gizmodo

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Favorite 2:49 Minutes of TV Comedy from the Fifties

Brightcove, causing some buzz for its new deal to share ad revenues with video producers, has a channel of clips from the Museum of Broadcast Communications. For Boomers it's nostalgia. For Xers and Nexters it's archeology. This surreal bit never fails to crack me up.

Mickeleh's Take: This bit is one of the supreme achievements of comedy genius. Ever. I'm eternally dumbfounded as to how its creator developed it. You might suspect drugs, but that really doesn't explain it. As for Brightcove's new business model, if sharing ad revenues helps them attract good new stuff, all the better. If it's only a magnet for infomercials, I'll just link to the dead geniuses, thanks.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

NPR wants to stop me from using an iPod in the car

NPR wants to kill the low powered personal FM transmitters that folks use to play iPods and satellite radio through the car FM radio. And I just found a decent one that works with my Nano.

Ironies abound: Doc Searls points out he subscribes to Sirius to listen to NPR. I use my nano to timeshift NPR via podcasts. (That's a half-lie. I use it to listent to music and podcasts, among which are NPR shows.) Matt Murray notes, "So the funding from Joan B. Kroc, is going to try and smite the FM modulators and satellite radio, instead of expanding a news department or two."

Mickeleh's Take: Just when I was getting over my disappointment with NPR for canning Bob Edwards, they're joining the ranks of old-line media whose strategy for success is to thwart the desires of its customers. The record industry can fill you in on how well that works.

BTW, is this even a problem? Have you ever had interference in the car from a personal FM transmitter?

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Computers, Cell Phones, and Moxi, Yay!

It's standard time this morning. And my connected toys knew it before I did. My clock radio, microwave, car, and wall clocks* won't find out until I tell them. I go now, to make the rounds.

*Dave Winer has a wall clock that updates itself.

Mickeleh's Take: No wonder my dog overslept. BTW, who makes his bio-clock "fall back"? And how? And how long does it take?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Gartner: Apple, HP advance in market share

Gartner has released PC market share estimates for Q3. Worldwide, HP (16.3%) has edged Dell (16.1%) to take the number one spot. Overall PC shipments are up 7% worldwide.

In the U.S. HP is gaining on Dell, but still in the number two spot. Apple showed a spectacular 31% gain in units shiped (975,000) from same quarter last year (744,000), holding the fourth spot behind Gateway. Apple claimed a 6.1% of the U.S. market in Q3.

As for the top two PC-makers, Dell Q3 shipments (5,113) dropped 7.1% vs. last year, but that still keeps them comfortably ahead of second-place HP (3,657), despite HP's gain of 6.3% on the year.

Mickeleh's Take: What accounts for Apple's share growth? Is it the iPod halo. Or is it the "I'm a Mac" spots?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Jobs on Zune: "your lover's lips"

I wonder if Steve Jobs is taking lessons in sexual metaphors from Jean-Louis Gassée. In an online interview with Newsweek's Steven Levy Jobs dismissed the threat of the new Microsoft Zune.

Of the new Zune-to-Zune wireless music-sharing feature:
"It takes forever. By the time you've gone through all that, the girl's got up and left."
Of iPod losing it's cool-factor now that everybody has one:
"That's like saying you don't want to kiss your lover's lips because everyone has lips. It doesn't make any sense."
In a move clearly designed to innoculate the market against the imminent release of Zune, Jobs uses his powerful mediagenic rays to secure major Newsweek print coverage as well.

One more thing: Levy has a vested interest in our interest in iPod. He's about to release a book about it.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Scoble's take on "Google Buys YouTube?" flurry

Robert Scoble has a smart take on the rumors that roiled the blogosphere today: Google in talks to buy You Tube for $1.6 Billion: a) It keeps YouTube out of play for Microsoft and Yahoo; b) it's a brand with a loyal audience.

Mickeleh's Take
: Hmmm. Three weeks ago it was Google Video plus Apple equals world domination. Now it’s Google plus YouTube. What if both rumors are true? Could get mighty interesting. Wanna play another round of Zune vs. iPod?

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Brain Dead Thing about Technorati

I love Technorati. I play the tag game. I check my blog rankings. I know some of the folks there. I like them. They're very smart. But...

They sort everything on the blogosphere into one of these five topics:
  • Entertainment
  • Life
  • Sports
  • Business
  • Tech
Just those five. Nothing on current events, news, or politics. So, under which of the five does politics show up?

If you guessed Entertainment, you are correct.

Technorati home page this morning, under What Everyone is Blogging About (Entertainment): I find:
That's Entertainment? I was expecting, maybe, the clown with his pants falling down or the dance that's a dream of romance or the scene where the villain is mean. Wasn't expecting the scene where the screamer is Dean.

Maybe they're making a profound editorial comment on the vacuousness of political discourse. Democrat or Republican? It's just casting. The script is the same and the show must go on. Maybe they're saluting the quip that "politics is show business for ugly people" (which Google tells me is Leno's or Carville's—but whoever came up with it, have your lawyers call these guys, who are trying to make a buck out of it).

MSM is talking about how the bloggers are hijacking political discourse, and the world authority on blogging doesn't have a tab for politics? Hmmm.

Guess what, Technorati? Of your top 20 blogs this morning, six are political blogs. You'll find them at numbers 5 (Huffington Post), 6 (Daily Kos), 10 (Crooks and Liars), 12 (Think Progress), 13 (Michelle Malkin), 17 (Instapundit). Of your 30 hot tags as of this writing, nine are political.

Mickeleh's Take
: Maybe they're afraid of alienating righties or lefties. Or maybe its an oversight. But I'm calling them out on it. And I'd like to see an enhancement. Please give us a Current Events tab.

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cross-posted on Mickeleh's Soapbox

Friday, September 22, 2006

The joke that took me six months to write

Back when I was doing standup, I jotted a premise for a joke onto an index card. There was something funny in it, but is wasn't a joke yet. I wrote this:
A scratch-and-sniff map
And I put the card away. Six month's later, I went through my joke premise cards and I was suddenly hit with the punchline:
... of New Jersey
. Why do I bring this up now? Because Gawker has a map to the smells of the New York subway

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Cory: Amazon Unbox "galling for its evilness"

Cory Doctorow on Boing-Boing went through the terms of service for the new Amazon movie download offering, "Unbox." He found a nest of vipers in there. His summary:
Amazon Unbox's user agreement isn't just galling for its evilness -- it's also commercially suicidal. No sane person will agree to this. Amazon Unbox user agreement is only a couple femtometers more dignified than being traded to another inmate for a couple packs of cigarettes.
Click through for the nasty details.

Mickeleh's Take: Sadly, sane people will agree. Because they're busy. Because they trust Amazon. Because they're so eager to get the candy, that they won't stop to read the warning labels. Once again Mac users dodge a bullet, because Amazon has based the service on Windows Media DRM, so we're not eligible.

Big thanks to Cory for raising a flag that will be noticed by some minority of potential customers and a hat-tip to Judeleh for her take on Mickeleh's take.

BTW... what's the user value to this download service vs. buying the DVD from Amazon or renting it from Netflix? Even without the galling evilness, I don't know why anyone would want this.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Apple is in Your Pocket (with a siphon)

My favorite slide from Steve's presentation yesterday:

Back in the day, Microsoft marched to the mission: "a computer on every desk" (running Microsoft software). How quaint. Today there are many more opportunites than desk tops. Apple is targeting your desks, home entertainment centers, autos, pockets, shoes, and, of course, your pockets. Especially your pockets. (So, is Microsoft, of course, but that's another topic.)

Mickeleh's Take:
  • iPod marches on with significantly more bang for the buck and cool features such as games and gapless playback. Missing in action: the rumored widescreen iPod. It looks like enough new for a nice Christmas bump to Apple's sagging iPod sales, but you have to wonder if the market is close to saturation. (I don't need a new iPod right now.). Oh, and the new shuffle is an adorable little tyke.
  • iTunes gets hot new browsing features, including Cover Flow and now it will download cover art to you--even for music you don't buy from the iTunes store. (It's free, so I'll download it for sure).
  • the store adds movies from Disney (which I'm boycotting because of ABC's airing of that deceitful schlockudrama on 9/11,) How's the value on the movies? Well, they're pricing higher than a rental, but lower than buying the DVD (but offering lower resolution, and no "DVD extras"). Maybe useful for plane trips. And, Steve, please throw some board and shareholder weight around at ABC and get them out of Bush's pocket.

As for the "one last thing": Steve put a new product on the vapor list, scheduled to ship next year (code-named iTV)? Brilliant. It's the missing link between media stored on your Mac or PC and your TV or home entertainment center. Wireless or wired networking built-in and all the audio-video outputs you'd want (HDMI, component, optical digial audio out, etc.). And it provides slick Front Row browsing of your content.

Mickeleh's take: iTV is not only smart about what it includes (the right output ports, slick U-I, and PC connectivity as well as Mac), but it's also smart about what it leaves out. There's no attempt to duplicate the DVR--which most people will get from their cable or satellite provider anyway (or maybe the new TiVo Series 3). The big gotcha: the home entertainment center is going high definition, but iTunes movies aren't even as sharp as current DVD and not even close to HD resolutions. Is there an HD upgrade path? (Jobs was silent about which flavors of 802.11 wireless will be supported.) I'll probably be in line for one when it ships. Of course, if you have a Media Center PC and an Xbox360--you pretty much have this capability and more (except you won't have access to Apple's Fair Play locked content. Gotta love the dueling DRM standards that Apple and Microsoft are imposing.). But this product isn't shipping until some time next year. Why did Steve show it so early?

Links for the Apple-obsessed:

If you missed the keynote, Apple is streaming it.
  • Product details at Apple.
  • Smart perspectives and food for thought from Scoble, Om, Kevin Marks
  • Analyst round-up of iTV prospects -- and Apple's prospects in the nascent, but already crowded movie download market by Mark Ward (BBC News). He tackles the question of why Apple broke with its recent practice of keeping hardware very close to the vest until it's ready to ship. Hint: the message wasn't for the consumer--it was for the movie studios.
  • Detailed analysis of iTV by Daniel Eran (also see his analysis of why Apple is winning at media downloads)
  • First look at new iPod from Ryan Block (Engadget) (BTW: it looks like the old iPod, but there are some neat screenshots of new games)
  • One last thing: hot new TV spot.
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Friday, September 08, 2006

Skip Photoshop: Now cameras can lie all by themselves

CNET reports on cameras that are designed to record enhanced images--slimming the subject, adding a tan, removing lines and blemishes. (slide show side bar included.)

Mickeleh's Take: Now that the retouching can be done in the process of recording the original digital image, "photography" as a record of reality is dead. There's definitely a market for unreality. "We can't handle the truth." But how new is the death of reality? As Paul Simon noted, there's spin even in the ol' silver halide: "Kodachrome, They give us those nice bright colors...Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, Oh yeah."

(tags: Digital Photography, Photography, Cameras, Reality)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

How to Dress Like a Mac

Chanporty Firth has sourced the wardrobe worn by Justin Long in the "I'm a Mac" commercials.

If you'd like to dress like your favorite computer, he has the items, stores, and prices.

Mickeleh's Take
: Forget dressing like a Mac. I want to wear the devil and angel suits worn by John Hodgman as "PC." Can you help me, Chanpory?

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Where is Steve Jobs on the Path to 9-12?

Thoughts on the countdown to ABC's airing of a distorted, anti-Clinton dramatization of the Countdown to 9-11:

Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder of ABC's parent company. He's also a member of the board of directors. He sold me the magnificent computer I'm using right now. And he also sells ABC and Disney product at the iTunes store. Boy do I have mixed feelings about this. I wonder if he does.

Back in 2000 near the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where Democrats met to nominate Al Gore, Apple Computer honored five progressive heroes in a twelve-story billboard, as part of the "Think Different" Campaign—Cesar Chavez, Martin Luthor King, FDR, Robert F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt.

There's a beautiful shot of the billboard here on Flickr.

Today, having sold Pixar to Disney, Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder and a member of the board of the parent company of ABC.

I wonder if Mr. Jobs has anything to say about the distortions in the upcoming mini-series, "Path to 9-11."

It's worth noting that 9-11 is directly on the path to 9-12, the day Apple is planning a major product announcement. Observers expect it to include a movie download service on iTunes. Disney movies will almost certainly form the heart of the first offerings

I wonder if this mini-series will also be offered on iTunes.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

And you think Katie got Fauxtoshopped?

These two pubs were in the supermarkets just a few weeks ago.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New in the GigaOm empire: Web Worker Daily

Newest addition to Om Malik's blog cluster: Web Worker Daily. Presented with a clean, vaguely soviet-era design, the service shows us that Om is no mere journalist. He's a revolutionary. Or a savvy marketer.

Workers of the world log on! You have nothing to lose but your cubes.

Have wi-fi. Will travel.

We don't need no steenking health plan. We buy at Whole Foods. No pesticides, no illness. If illness, then homeopathy.

BTW… can anyone here explain why our language is inverted. Why do people who work in an office say they work “out of” an office? And when they work at home say they work “out of my home”?

BTW… can anyone here explain why it’s cool to use Soviet and Bolshevik imagery in an ironic way, but not cool to use Nazi imagery?

Mickeleh's take: I think Om has found an audience, a need, and a great opportunity to fill it. I'm subscribed.

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

ZDNet: Microsoft PR exec (UK) doesn't "get" blogging

According to Tom Foremski on ZDNet, an exec from Waggener Edstrom, lead PR agency for Microsoft, says he doesn't get blogging. Tom reminds readers that former Microsoft Tech Geek Blogger Robert Scoble (now with PodTech) "created many millions of dollars in positive publicity for Microsoft, on a salary of less than $100K. I don't think WaggEd could have done a fraction of that, for 100 times the payment Mr Scoble received." Amen to that. Scoble's role in providing a human, humane view into Microsoft continues even now that he's left.

And just yesterday, Robert pondered whether he was losing his blog power since leaving Microsoft.

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digg story

Trace the rise and fall of baby names

Here's a fascinating bit of information design and Java programming: The Baby Name Wizard. Watch the popularity of given names rise and fall over more than a century. Type in a given name and see when its popularity peaks. (Mickeleh isn't in the database--but Michael is.)

See Abraham make a late century comeback, Watch Ethyl and Myrtle fade, see Shaniqua arrive and vanish with great speed. Lots of info in the FAQ on the data sets and the design choices. Whether you're on the way to naming a baby, or want to see a popularity curve for your own name and those you know, this is a wizard worth seeing.

One potentially confusing design choice is that the scale of the vertical axis changes for each name in order to allow the chart to fill the vertical space. At first glance, all names seem to be equally popular at their peak. The designers use color to denote which names are more popular--below, Michael in deep blue peaks at more than 21,000 per million, whereas Willard peaks at a bit more than 1,100 per million. At its lowest point (in the 1880s at 54th), Michael outranks Willard at its peak (in the 1910s at 83rd). So be careful to pay attention to the elastic scale as you peruse different names.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Paris surges past our Long Tail Video

Less than a month ago, I posted on YouTube, the Long Tail video that I did with Peter Hirshberg and Bob Kalsey. It's nearly up to 340,000 viewings. Which I'm pretty happy about. On the other hand a certain hotel heiress has a video that just went up yesterday and it has already surged past Long Tail. And hers is black and white.

Maybe it's just the extra publicity kick from Steve Rubel's mention of it when he covered the debut of the new branded channel service from YouTube

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

CBS News to Simulcast Couric on Web and TV

According to TV Week, The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric will simulcast on the Web as it airs on TV and then following the live broadcast, it will remain available online as an on demand program.

It's Katie bar the door now as networks rush headlong to use IP delivery in hopes of meeting up with the audience who's abandoning TV for the PC.

Last time I watched the Network News, the preponderance of commercials for denture adhesive, pills for incontinence, etc. was a tipoff that their ratings with the young audience demos have fallen and they can't get up. Come to the Internet. It's where the young people hang.

Mickeleh's Take: Just because the kids are on PCs, doesn't necessarily mean that they're gonna click on the network news. Expect Katie and producers to do their best to liven up the joint with format and presentation changes. Maybe CBS needs to hire Amanda Congdon as a co-anchor.

(Ironically, Amanda today is giving the lie to my rant about young demos by highlighting a clip from YouTube featuring what may be the world's oldest vlogger.)

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Brouhaha about blogging (Nick vs. Mike)

Yesterday I linked to a Nick Carr essay, The Great Unread. I didn't comment because I thought the post stood on its own and I didn't want to dilute or distort a reader's experience of it with too much characterization. If you haven't read The Great Unread yet, it's the homework for what follows. (But nobody is forcing you to do the homework.). Nick’s post was beautifully written and held my attention.

Turns out that Nick hit a nerve. Mike Arrington jumped on it and asked if Nick was really Robin Hood or just an A**hole for implying that the whole game is about soliciting links from more popular bloggers, and concluding that Nick's championing of the little guys was just a well-crafted plea for links back to Nick.

And that kicked off a food fight. about the essence of blogging and the nature of the blogosphere. Is it high school? Feudalism? Self-expression? or Conversation. (More homework: read the comments to both Nick's and Mike's posts.)

Who’s zoomin’ whom here? Is this a real controversy or some elaborately staged pro-wrestling contest? Is this a real battle for the soul of the blogosphere or a cry for attention? Scott Karp gets to the heart of why (some) people blog, Blogging Is the New Novel/Screenplay Writing. Scott also reminds us that rejection has been the fate of the vast majority of all people who write for fame and money long before blogging reared its Hydra heads. (and tails.)

Why do so many bloggers have to graduate from the Monty Python Argument Clinic before posting?

Just remember that, anatomically speaking, the asshole is still way ahead of the long tail. If that's where Nick sits, he's doin' pretty well. There are plenty of much lonelier slots out toward the end of the tail.

That Mike responded with such vehemence–and that so many are blogging about this–suggests that Nick must have hit a nerve. Just sayin’.

The best tech marketers wrap their wares inside a messianic change-the-world ideology. It’s always some variant freedom, fulfilment, self-expression–the very top of the Maslow pyramid.

Bloggers are no different. The official ideology of blogging is all Woodstock Nation, Global Village, new media vs. old, Let every voice be heard. Yeah, yeah.

But bloggers are people, too. They're also ruled by other classic motivators. Lusts for power, affiliation, admiration—are lurking in there too.

The blogosphere, by virtue of its exponential growth can’t help but be a pyramid scheme. It has to be harder for the late-comers. (Unless, of course, their hearts are pure. And then, like Sir Galahad, Tom Hanks, and Indiana Jones, they'll find the Grail.)

But has there ever been a pyramid built with more chutes and ladders? So many ways to find an audience--if it's an audience you seek. This is as fluid as it gets in human interaction. which makes it easier for newcomers.

For whatever reason, many bloggers find loneliness, frustration, and disappointment. Rather than dismiss them as unworthy, Nick gave them an eloquent voice. So, I paid him with the coin of the realm and linked to him.

Mike asked whether Nick is an a**hole. For that I posted a comment to his site, but offer no link. He doesn’t need one.

From each according to his abilities. To each according to his needs.

Mickeleh's Take: It's all good. Blog if you will for whatever reasons move you and whatever reward you seek. If the reward is slow coming, take courage from Fudd's First Law of Opposition: If you push something hard enough, it will fall over. (Firesign Theatre).

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